Sept. 26, 2005
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Former University of Kansas basketball student-athlete Tom Kivisto has pledged $10 million, $2 million of which the university has already received, towards the planned football facility at KU's Memorial Stadium.
A native of the Chicago area, Kivisto was a three-year starter for KU's basketball team (1971-72 through 1973-74), and averaged 7.6 points per game for the Jayhawks' 1974 Final Four team. He earned Academic All-American, All-Big Eight and Academic All-Big Eight honors at KU, and is a member of the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame. He earned a bachelor's degree from KU majoring in pre-med and psychology. His master's work, also at KU, was in urban planning.
Kivisto has served as president and chief executive officer of SemGroup, L.P., located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, since helping establish the midstream energy service company in April 2000. Under his tenure, SemGroup has completed more than 35 acquisitions, and its total assets have grown from $227.4 million in 2000 to more than $1.7 billion at year-end 2004. Last year, Forbes magazine ranked SemGroup 14th among all privately held U.S. companies.
"My wife Julie and I love the University of Kansas, and as such we consider this a gift to the entire university," Kivisto said. "I believe a successful football program helps a university at every level. By making the football program stronger, the entire university and all of its sports programs are the beneficiaries. Athletics was a huge part of my life at KU, and I respect and appreciate what Lew Perkins is doing for athletics and for KU. I am happy to do what I can to support the university, especially its athletics programs."
Lew Perkins, director of athletics at KU, said Kivisto's generosity will help all of KU's athletics programs.
"The entire KU athletics family is indebted to Tom for his generosity," Perkins said. "By consolidating all football activities into one area, the facility will free up space needed for other sports. In addition, this football facility will help KU football be more competitive with other Big 12 programs."
KU football Coach Mark Mangino also expressed his appreciation. "What Tom Kivisto has done stands as a shining example for others. Our coaching staff and players are all committed to making the KU football program a perennial power in the Big 12, and Tom's generosity will help us achieve that goal."